A mashup that we never expected but it's here, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead from ClockStone and Headup is out now and it's actually great. Note: key provided by the publisher Headup.
I went into this hopeful considering that they did a thoroughly good job on Bridge Constructor: Portal, and thankfully my hopes were not in vain as Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead merges these two worlds together very nicely. It's still the same bridge-building physics sim we loved from before but only now it's a little more tactical as you're facing off against the walkers.
With how many times bridge-building physics puzzlers have been done, keeping it fresh like this is very welcome. It's not just building bridges here, as it adds in various characters that you need to give commands to. So the game is a big mix between building a stable bridge (or not so in my case…), potentially setting up it up like a trap to squish as many walkers as possible and giving a few people commands to do at various points in a level.
The destruction is actually quite hilarious. A nice change of pace compared with others such games were you're usually trying to make the strongest bridge possible. Instead, using as little resources as possible to keep your score along with making sure it will both hold up and get broken when you need it to is quite a lot of fun. You get a real sense of satisfaction when you manage to complete a lot of the later levels when it just all comes together, which is usually after countless amount of complete failures.
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is very much a puzzle game. One with a little bit of freedom due to the building mechanics, with you attaching boards and wires to very specific points but how you do the building all depends on how you approach each puzzle and there isn't an exact answer. As long as what you build somehow gets the job done.
Across the game you meet some well-known fan favourite survivors like Daryl, Michonne and Eugene although they're not voiced but they slot in nicely into the setting. It's more of a bonus for people who love TWD and not something you need to have watched to appreciate it at all.
The first Chapter of the game at 8 levels is rather easy, with it taking less than an hour. Mainly as it's still mostly a tutorial. After that point though, things do get steadily more difficult as with any good puzzle game, you want it to make you actually have to use your brain - just not for walker food. Once you're dealing with vehicles too, things do get much more complicated considering their weight that you need to take into account - however they're much faster and can fly over some gaps so you get a little leeway with how you build for them.
Experimentation. That's the aim of the game here. Especially so with the new hero characters, and their special actions. Eugene has a distraction doll they can throw to attract the walkers, while Daryl can fire a crossbow. However, much like building the bridges, you only give commands at a few set points so it's still keeping to the puzzle theme.
Admittedly there's a few times this has stumped me, as the level designers clearly had a chuckle while creating the game knowing how tough some levels are to crack.
What makes Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead great though is that it continues the tradition of not punishing you for anything. You go at your own pace, and you can replay each level as much as you like. Some levels are really challenging though, to the point that they leave you at the edge of your seat as you see all the elements of your precious creation start to crumble and fall apart before your eyes. Just when you think you've finally got it.
Sadly, there's no Steam Workshop or other modding support here. Headup said there's no concrete plans for it but they're keeping an eye on interest. That would have been a nice extra.
The Linux version is flawless as far as I can see. ClockStone very much know what they're doing, and they've honed their skills with the Unity game engine nicely. I can easily give Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead a recommendation here as it's just great, an absolute delight. Not particularly long but will keep you going for a good 4-5+ hours I think.